How To Win Your Next Argument With Thai Swear Words

Thai Swear Words 101

When we’re not the polite and hospitable hosts, Thais will curse and swear as creatively as Shakespeare. Thai swear words can be so scathing, shocking, yet funny that fights will stop just so we can all admire the burn that just took place.

Whether it’s to win your next argument in Thai or simply just to eavesdrop on gossip, here is a quick rundown on Thai swear words.

Add “e” for emphasis

Before we even get to the words, we have to get this one thing out of the way. Thais will add “e” (อิ/อี) in front of almost all swears.

This is for extra emphasis and oomph, but also just because it’s so satisfying to say.

It is typically used when the swear is addressing a particular person. For example, if you were calling someone stupid, you’d say e-ngo (อีโง่).

– The ubiquitous ones –

Hia (เหี้ย)

Image credit: Geonuch via Wikimedia Commons

This is Thai language’s equivalent to fuck. Not in terms of meaning, but in terms of how ubiquitous it is.

Hia (เหี้ย) literally means monitor lizard, an animal you’d be all too familiar with if you’ve ever gone to any Thai park. Thais will sprinkle in hia in casual conversation as if they were adding chilis to somtam.

Much like fuck, it’ll be used as a noun, a verb, an adjective, adverbs, and even interjections.


E-hia (อีเหี้ย) – noun form. This is used to address a person. Can be friendly or hostile depending on tone and closeness.

(adjective) hia hia (– เหี้ยๆ) – adverb form. Used following an adjective to show that how severe it is. For instance, mun ngo hia hia (มันโง่เหี้ยๆ) means “he’s fucking stupid.”

Mun ben khon hia (มันเป็นคนเหี้ย) – adjective form. Used to show that the person is very morally corrupt.

Aow hia la (อ่าวเหี้ยละ) – interjection form. Phrase means “oh shit!”

You could also avoid calling someone hia directly by saying kin-kai-mai? (กินไก่ไหม), which means “would you like chicken?” This can be quite subtle and depends on context, but it originates from the perception that monitor lizards seem to like eating chicken.

Sometimes, you’ll also hear people say Chia (เชี้ย) instead.

Dok Thong (ดอกทอง)

Image credit: Jonathan Zander (Digon3) via Wikimedia Commons

Dok Thong (ดอกทอง) is a somewhat newer addition to the collection, but has quickly become one of the most used swears.

Literally meaning golden flower, the term’s actual meaning is slut or prostitute. As you can imagine, this term is usually used by women to refer to other women or by members of the LGBTQ community.

Sometimes, dok thong will also be shorted to just dok.

Much like hia, dok is usually used to address friends endearingly or to insult your enemies.

To use, simply turn to your friend and call them e-dok, especially when you’re about to drop a burn.

There are also creative alternatives that’ll avoid calling someone dok directly, but imply it instead. For example, e-ngern goo rai wan (อีเงินกู้รายวัน, lit. daily loan). This is because dok can mean flower but can also mean interest rate. Daily loans have high interest rates, so you’re basically calling someone very dok.

Polite language vs. Casual language

Like a lot of Asian languages, many Thai words will have synonyms that are used in different situations, particularly when you’re talking to someone you respect as opposed to someone you’re friendly with. And yes, often times, this does mean that foreigners can come across as overly polite to us because you’re using formal speech and talking as if we’re lords.

While it doesn’t directly rise up to the level of cursing, many Thai pronouns also have very casual forms that can be quite rude.

Polite Casual  Meaning
Chaan (ฉัน), Pom (ผม), Noo (หนู) Goo (กู) 1st-person pronouns
Khun (คุณ), Ter (เธอ) Mung (มึง) 2nd-person pronouns

– Animal-based swears –

Image credit: Markus G. Klötzer via Wikimedia Commons

  • Saad (สัตว์) – literally means animal. Used to insult someone as an animal. Much more severe than the English version.
  • Khwai (ควาย) – literally means water buffalo. Used to call someone stupid or very large.
  • Ngoo pid (งูพิษ) – literally means poisonous snake. Similar to the snake metaphor in English, it is used to describe someone who is a bad influence or traitorous.
  • Pak-maa (ปากหมา) – literally means a dog’s mouth. Used to describe a potty mouth or loud people who bark a lot.

Image credit: MatthiasKabel via Wikimedia Commons

  • Chanee (ชะนี) – literally means gibbon. Used to describe women or anyone looking for a husband. This is because gibbons say “pua” (ผัว) which sounds like husband in Thai.
  • Raad (แรด) – literally means rhino. Used to describe women who are very aggressively pursuing men. Think rhinos smashing into each other and fighting over mates.

– Sex-related swears –

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  • Kuay (ควย) – literally means penis. It’s used similar to the English-version where you’re calling someone a dick, but it’s much more severe. You can also call someone a dickhead by saying hua kuay (หัวควย).
  • Hee (หี) – literally means vagina. You’ll have to raise your tone at the end of this one to pronounce it correctly. This is a more vulgar word for vagina and is often used in combination with other words. For example, Naa-hee (หน้าหี, lit. vagina-faced) which roughly means ugly or men-hee (เหม็นหี, lit. smelly vagina) which roughly means disgusting.
  • Yed (เย็ด) – literally means fuck. This one is usually used with an object following the word yed which will give it many different meanings. Yed-mae (เย็ดแม่) literally means motherfucker. Yed-kae (เย็ดเข้) and yed-ped (เย็ดเป็ด) literally means crocodile-fucker and duck-fucker, respectively. As far as we know, these animal variants are just said to show when something is really surprising.

– Miscellaneous-

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  • Naa-daan (หน้าด้าน) – literally means flat-faced. Used to call someone shameless.
  • Naa-mo  (หน้าม่อ) – This is combination of naa meaning face and mo which means nearby/close in Isaan dialect. Used to call someone, usually a guy, promiscuous.
  • Lamyai (ลำไย) – literally means longan. Used to call someone annoying.

Use Thai swear words responsibly

With great power, comes great responsibility. We’ve provided you with a wealth of knowledge that can usually only be obtained on the streets, in battle, or by very well-meaning friends. So make sure you use this knowledge responsibly.

Please don’t use this language when bartering with local vendors at these awesome Bangkok night markets and 2nd-hand markets. Do use it when you’re badgering your friend for another round of mookata.

Cover image adapted from: Mira Meijer Burgers’ Zoo via Wikimedia Commons